A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NHL "slam dunk competition" poorly executed

The NHL added a couple of new twists to the Skills Competition this year. The most anticipated was the "breakout" competition where the skater was supposed to show his creativity in a no-rules breakaway on the net. They marketed it as a "slam dunk competition", adding a panel of celebrity judges to rate the skaters on their creativity. We expected -- and saw -- some attempts at a "lacrosse-style" goal and a couple of other crazy things, but overall the event was a bust.

First of all, there wasn't that much creativity. The skaters could have started their attempt from anywhere on the ice. Behind the goal, coming out of the penalty box, diving through the slot. Anywhere. Every single one of them started from the center face off dot. A couple of guys tried, and failed, to pull off the lacrosse goal. For the most part, they were straightforward penalty shots. Boring. Skating in backwards? Please, don't insult me. Playing it off the skate blade? Yawn. For my money, only Alex Ovechkin with his baseball-style attempt was interesting. It was creative and exciting, even if he didn't succeed at making contact with the airborne puck.

Second, and perhaps most important, why in the world was the goaltender part of that? The NBA doesn't put a 7'2" defender in the lane during the slam dunk competition. MLB's homerun derby doesn't have guys trying to strike the batter out. Those exhibitions, and this one, are strictly about offense. It seems counter to the point of it all to have a goaltender there. Next year, I hope they remove the goaltender and also that the skaters are a little more prepared to be creative. Let's see some guys come out of the penalty box, bank it off the half-wall on the opposite wing, then make a crazy behind the back, between the legs shot from there. Let's see guys start behind the net, lob it over the net, then do the Alex Ovechkin baseball-style thing from the high slot. I'm just throwing stuff out there.

The regular game will be today at 6:00 on Versus. It should be a lot of fun. I'll stick with my prediction of 9-7 for the East. I'll also predict that Alex Ovechkin will be the MVP.

No comments:


Red And Black Hockey is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Club, the National Hockey League or any of its other member clubs. The opinions expressed herein are entirely those of RBH. Any comments made are the opinion of the commenter, and not necessarily that of RBH.
Whenever possible, RBH uses its own photography. Any incidental use of copyrighted material including photography, logos or other brand markings will not interfere with the owner's profits.